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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Michael Fabiano

10 Veterans Whose Stock Rose After the NFL Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and we now have a clearer picture of how all 32 rosters are going to look heading into the summer months. That means it’s time for fantasy fans to dig deep into the depth charts and start getting their rankings ready for the upcoming best-ball league and redraft madness that’s around the corner.

We’ve already examined the biggest winners and losers among the rookies, so let’s take a look at how the draft will affect incumbent veterans who might or might not have competition heading into the season. Whether it’s based on talent, depth chart or a combination of both, let’s start with the players whose stock is moving up.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys

The Cowboys had a need at running back, but they didn’t fill it (sorry, Kansas State’s 5’5” Deuce Vaughn won’t cut it). That will leave Pollard as the team’s unquestioned top runner, though there’s a chance the Cowboys could bring back Ezekiel Elliott. For now, Pollard is a No. 1 fantasy option.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patriots

There were rumors the Patriots could target Texas running back Bijan Robinson if he fell in Round 1, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the team loaded up on defenders, linemen, wideouts and even a kicker … but no runners. As a result, Stevenson’s fantasy appeal remains high.

Rachaad White, RB, Buccaneers

The Buccaneers were another team linked to Robinson, but he went in the top eight. Instead, Tampa Bay went with Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey in Round 1 and North Dakota State offensive tackle Cody Mauch in Round 2. More importantly, the Bucs didn’t draft a back. White is on the rise.

Isiah Pacheco, RB, Chiefs

The Chiefs appear to be happy with their backfield, as the team didn’t select a single runner in the draft. While they could still re-sign Jerick McKinnon, Pacheco looks like the unquestioned top option for now ahead of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’ll be a decent flex option in most redrafts.

Cam Akers, RB, Rams

The Rams needed, well, everything in the draft. The team used its 14 selections on offensive and defensive linemen, a quarterback and a few defensive backs. While the Rams did draft Zach Evans out of Ole Miss (Round 6), he won’t compete with Akers as the top man on the depth chart.

Treylon Burks, WR, Titans

The Titans desperately needed depth at wide receiver, but the team didn’t draft one until the seventh round (Colton Dowell out of Tennessee-Martin). That leaves Burks as the unquestioned No. 1 wideout, at least for now. Unless the Titans make trades, Burks’s draft value is on the rise.

Kadarius Toney, WR, Chiefs

The Chiefs lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman this offseason and lack for wideouts, so it’s no surprise the team took Rashee Rice out of SMU in Round 2. That was the lone wideout K.C. picked, though, so Toney and Skyy Moore will be in for prominent roles in 2023.

Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks

The fifth-best quarterback in fantasy football last season (not a typo), Smith was rewarded with a new contract and a new wide receiver. That player is Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who was the top receiver off the board. Smith now has DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and JSN in the offense.

Jordan Love, QB, Packers

Love is now the unquestioned starter in Green Bay after the trade of Aaron Rodgers. He gained some weapons in the draft, too, as Green Bay picked two tight ends (Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft) and two wideouts (Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks). That should help Love in 2023.

Irv Smith Jr., TE, Bengals

Smith’s lack of durability has fantasy fans concerned, but he was a big winner after the draft. The Bengals were tied to both Michael Mayer and Dalton Kincaid, the top two tight end prospects, in mock drafts. Instead, the team avoided the position altogether. That helps Smith’s draft value.

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